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The 151 Best Quotes About Life That Will Actually Inspire You

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For millennia, poets, speakers, authors, artists, filmmakers, and musicians have tried to capture the essence of life. From the blissful excitement of new love to the challenges of unexpected setbacks, something as simple as a quote can encapsulate profound truths about the human experience. 

Whether you’re looking for inspiration, motivation, comfort, or a good chuckle, these snippets of wisdom are perfect for jotting down in your journal or posting on your social media. Here are 151 quotes about life that will make you pause and reflect. 

Best Quotes About Life

In her bestselling book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware documents the biggest regrets of patients in the last 3 months of their lives. She found the most common themes were related to unfulfilled dreams, overworking, and wishing they’d spent more time with loved ones. 

Interestingly, these quotes from thought leaders of the past and present carry the same essence. They remind us to prioritize what matters most so we don’t regret our life’s decisions when we reach the end. 

  1. “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” —Dalai Lama
  2. “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them—that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” —Lao Tzu
  3. “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” —Friedrich Nietzsche
  4. “Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.” —Josh Billings
  5. “The best gift anyone can give, I believe, is the gift of sharing themselves.” —Oprah
  6. “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.” —Oprah
  7. “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” —Harvey Fierstein
  8. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” —Albert Einstein
  9. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” —Maya Angelou
  10. “Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” —Mary Oliver
  11. “You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.” ―Mary Oliver
  12. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” —Nelson Mandela
  13. “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” —Confucius
  14. “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” —Marie Curie
  15. “You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.” —Vernon Howard
  16. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” —Henry David Thoreau
  17. “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” —Socrates
  18. “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” —E. M. Forster
  19. “Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” —Ernest Holmes
  20. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
  21. “Throughout life, people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” —Will Smith
  22. “If life were predictable, it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
  23. “Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” —Emily Dickinson
  24. “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” —Havelock Ellis
  25. “When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’” —Sydney J. Harris
  26. “To me, if life boils down to one thing, it’s movement. To live is to keep moving.” —Jerry Seinfeld
  27. “The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” —Henry Miller
  28. “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” —Bruce Lee
  29. “People skills are the social lubricant of life.” —Vanessa Van Edwards

Funny Quotes About Life

We’ve all heard how laughter is medicine. Research shows that, even through trauma or tragedy, people who can find humor in their life have better mental health outcomes and coping mechanisms than those who don’t. These morsels of joy add a funny twist to life lessons.

  1. “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.” —Jack Handey
  2. Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are.”—Will Ferrell
  3. “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.” —Charlie Chaplin
  4. “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path. Then, by all means, follow that path.”—Ellen DeGeneres
  5. “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” —Dolly Parton
  6. “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” — Lily Tomlin
  7. “I find television very educational. Every time someone turns it on, I go in the other room and read a book.” —Groucho Marx
  8. “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” —Mark Twain

Positive Quotes About Life

Did you know that a positive attitude links to higher wages and greater happiness?  Maintaining a positive outlook doesn’t require constant optimism or toxic positivity. Instead, these quotes reflect on ways to incorporate positivity into your daily life. 

  1. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” —Maya Angelou 
  2. “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” —Winston Churchill
  3. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” —Mahatma Gandhi
  4. “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” —Lou Holtz
  5. “Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.”―Roy T. Bennett
  6. “You are where you are in life because of what you believe is possible for yourself.” —Oprah
  7. “The best of times is now.” —Oprah
  8. “I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.” —Arthur Rubinstein
  9. “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” —Walter Hagen

Famous Quotes About Life

Call them cliche or honor their glory. These quotes have been repeated for decades yet still hold true. 

  1. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” —Walt Disney
  2. “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” —John Lennon
  3. “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” —Albert Einstein
  4. “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” —Babe Ruth
  5.  “Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.” —Will Smith
  6. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.” —Steve Jobs
  7. “The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.” —Henry Ford
  8. “Learn as if you will live forever, live like you will die tomorrow.” —Mahatma Gandhi
  9. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” —Thomas Edison
  10. “Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I remember. Involve me, and I learn.” —Benjamin Franklin
  11. “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” —Robert Louis Stevenson
  12. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” —Henry David Thoreau

Motivational Quotes About Life

The secret to success isn’t linked to your IQ, background, or even the people you know. According to these quotes, some of the most successful people in history seem to agree it’s more about overcoming defeats, practicing discipline, and putting in the hard work.

  1. “There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” –-Aldous Huxley 
  2. “Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.” —Oprah
  3. “When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.” —Oprah
  4. “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston S. Churchill
  5. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” —Confucius 
  6. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” —Arthur Ashe 
  7. “Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get.” ―W. P. Kinsella
  8. “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” —Jim Rohn
  9.  “Don’t settle for what life gives you; make life better and build something.” —Ashton Kutcher
  10. Faith is risking it all on something unseen. Most people say, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” but the truth of the matter is that you’ll see it when you believe it. —David DeNotaris
  11. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” –-Thomas A. Edison
  12. “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” —Elon Musk
  13. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” —Charles R. Swindoll
  14. “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” —Lao Tzu
  15. “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” —H. G. Wells
  16. “Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” —Simone de Beauvoir
  17. “The only thing that’s keeping you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself.” —Tony Robbins

Deep Quotes About Life

Finding the purpose of our lives and creating your version of a successful life is a highly personalized journey. Often it requires digging more profound than the materialism or trivial pursuits we often see portrayed in the media. These quotes can help you to dive below the surface to contemplate life’s deeper truths through the perspectives of famous thought leaders. 

  1. “The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of like is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give.” —William Arthur Ward
  2. “The average men consume. The wise create.” —Maxime Lagacé
  3. “Take time like the river that never grows stale. Keep going and steady. No hurry, no rush.” —Rumi
  4. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).” —Mark Twain
  5. “To do two things at once is to do neither.” —Publilius Syrus
  6. “I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint—and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” —Oprah
  7. “Battle not with monsters, lest you become one and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” —Friedrich Nietzsche
  8. “Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.” —Euripides

Quotes About Life and Love

Whether you’re recovering from a breakup or seeking that special someone, love is undoubtedly one of the greatest joys of life. Nonetheless, we all know how badly heartbreak and rejection can hurt. Here are some sweet, romantic, and sad quotes for love in all its forms.  

  1. “When you give joy to other people, you get more joy in return. You should give a good thought to happiness that you can give out.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
  2. “I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” —Rita Rudner
  3. “The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.” ―Ernest Hemingway
  4. “Love someone because their soul inspires you, not because you’re interested in the relief from loneliness and companionship they can provide. Anybody can do that. Not just anybody can show you to yourself.” ―Brianna Wiest
  5. “The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.” —Stephen Kendrick
  6. “People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants, but a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention.” —Elizabeth Gilbert
  7. “You deserve someone who would make you so happy that you forget that you had ever been sad; someone who would love you so much that you forget that you once wondered if you are worthy of love. You deserve someone who would make you realize that you deserve to be loved; but not just with any kind of love.” —Nica Rodriguez
  8. “The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that.” —Cheryl Strayed
  9. “You meet thousands of people and none of them really touch you. And then you meet one person and your life is changed… forever.” —Jake Gyllenhaal
  10. “I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.” —-Paulo Coelho 
  11. “I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me, and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect, I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.” —Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Melancholy Quotes About Life

These quotes can help you feel a little less alone in life’s darkest moments. 

  1. “We must understand that sadness is an ocean, and sometimes we drown, while other days we are forced to swim.” ―R.M. Drake
  2. “Tears are words that need to be written.” ―Paulo Coelho
  3. “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not, and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” ―Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  4. “The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keep out the joy.” —Jim Rohn
  5. “Behind every sweet smile, there is a bitter sadness that no one can ever see and feel.” —Tupac Shakur
  6. “Every human walks around with a certain kind of sadness. They may not wear it on their sleeves, but it’s there if you look deep.” —Taraji P. Henson
  7. “The good times of today are the sad thoughts of tomorrow.” —Bob Marley
  8. “It’s sad when someone you know becomes someone you knew.” —Henry Rollins
  9. “I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.” ―S. Lewis
  10. “Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” —Rumi

Spiritual Quotes About Life

Whether you prefer meditation, religion, or personal development, spirituality brings meaning and hope to the human experience. These quotes from spiritual leaders remind us of ways we can become better people and forge connections with something greater than ourselves. 

  1. “Awakening is not changing who you are, but discarding who you are not.” —Deepak Chopra
  2. “It does not matter how long you are spending on the earth, how much money you have gathered, or how much attention you have received. It is the amount of positive vibration you have radiated in life that matters.” —Amit Ray
  3. “Let what comes come. Let what goes go. Find out what remains.” —Ramana Maharshi
  4. “Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.” —Brené Brown
  5. “Nature has given us all the pieces required to achieve exceptional wellness and health, but has left it to us to put these pieces together.” —Diane McLaren
  6. “When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” —Paulo Coelho
  7. “You don’t know about real loss because it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.” —Robin Williams
  8. “The key to finding happiness in this life is realizing that the only way to overcome is to transcend; to find happiness in the simple pleasures, to master the art of just being.”― Brianna Wiest
  9. “When will you begin that long journey into yourself?” —Rumi
  10. “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.” —Rumi

Cute Quotes About Life

Sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up to jot down on a post-it note and stick on your mirror. You can also use these cute quotes for greeting cards, social media posts, or wall art. 

  1. “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” —-George Bernard Shaw
  2. “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” —Winnie the Pooh
  3.  “If you live to be a hundred, I hope I live to be a hundred minus one day so that I never have to live a day without you.” —Winnie the Pooh
  4. “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” —Winnie the Pooh
  5. “Life is a ride. Strap in, hang on, and keep your eyes open.” —Michael J. Fox
  6. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” —-Dr. Seuss
  7. “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” ―Dr. Seuss
  8. “If ‘Plan A’ didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters!” —Unknown
  9. “You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching. Love like you’ll never be hurt. Sing like there’s nobody listening. And live like it’s heaven on earth.” —William W. Purkey 
  10. “Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.” —Richard Bach
  11. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain.” —Vivian Greene
  12. “Life is like an ice cream. Enjoy it before it melts.” —Unknown
  13. “If you love someone, let them go. If they come back with coffee it was meant to be.” —Unknown 

Movie Quotes About Life

Screenwriters have brought forth some profound reflections on life expressed through the voices of actors and actresses. These excerpts from the famous movie characters are sure to make you ponder. 

  1. “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” —Forrest Gump, 1994
  2. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” —The Godfather Part II, 1974
  3. “Great men are not born great, they grow great.” —Mario Puzo, The Godfather
  4. “Just because someone stumbles and loses their path doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.” —Professor X, X-Men
  5. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” —Ferris Bueller
  6. “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” —Dead Poets Society, 1989.
  7. “Just keep swimming” —Finding Nemo, 2003
  8. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” —Gone With the Wind, 1939
  9. “My mother always used to say: The older you get, the better you get, unless you’re a banana.” —Rose (Betty White), The Golden Girls
  10. “Why should I kill myself worrying when I’ll end up just as dead?” —The Bicycle Thieves, 1948
  11. “Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.” —Clive Barker, Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War
  12. “Do, or do not. There is no “try”.” —Yoda, Star Wars
  13. “A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.” —Niki Lauda, Rush
  14. “Every man dies, but not every man really lives.” —William Wallace, Braveheart 
  15. “Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life, but it ain’t how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. It’s how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.” —Rocky Balboa

Disney Quotes About Life

Walt Disney is famous for its classic films that have captivated hearts for nearly a century. While their movies were initially aimed at children, they still pack a philosophical punch in these quotes about life. 

  1. “Even miracles take a little time.” —Fairy Godmother, Cinderella
  2. “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” —The Emperor, Mulan
  3. “Venture outside your comfort zone. The rewards are worth it.” —Rapunzel
  4. “The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up.” —Timothy Mouse, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  5. “The things that make me different are the things that make me.” —Piglet, Winnie the Pooh
  6. “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” —Winnie the Pooh
  7. “If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take.” —The Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland
  8. “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” —Rafiki, The Lion King
  9. “Remember you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine.” —Snow White

How to Use Life Quotes for Daily Inspiration 

You can use these quotes about life as snippets of inspiration to keep you going through life’s peaks and valleys. Here are a few ways to incorporate quotes into your daily routine: 

  • Daily Reminders: Jot down a quote on a sticky note and put it on your mirror or in your car where you can see it daily. 
  • Wall Art: Print out your favorite quotes or use a design service like Canva to create attractive posters for decorating your home. 
  • Social Media: Paste a quote into your story on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok to inspire people with a thought for the day. You can also use inspirational quotes in photo captions (tag the author if they have an account!)
  • Thoughtful Messages: An inspirational quote is the perfect morning motivational text to your partner or a comforting message to your friend who is going through a tough time. You can always add something like “saw this and thought of you.” 
  • Meeting Starter: A life or work quote is a great way to start work meetings on a positive note. Add them to the slideshow’s beginning or write on a whiteboard to help inspire your team. 
  • Positive Affirmations: Don’t forget to speak the quotes aloud. Let the words roll around in your mouth. Taste their essence and feel their power. After all, words are things. They become our thoughts, which become our beliefs, which become our actions. 

If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate positive affirmations and daily inspiration into your life, here are 120 Positive Daily Affirmations for Happiness (w/ Science!)

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